Dec. 17, 2012
Big Ten teams enjoyed considerable success during the fall sport season highlighted by a national championship for the Indiana men’s soccer team. The fall season also featured runner-up finishes in men’s cross country (Wisconsin) and women’s soccer (Penn State), two volleyball semifinalists (Michigan and Penn State) and an undefeated football team (Ohio State).
The Big Ten’s seven fall sports produced 45 All-Americans (Men’s Soccer – 1; Women’s Cross Country – 1; Men’s Cross Country – 4; Women’s Soccer – 6; Field Hockey – 9; Football – 10; Volleyball – 14) while 13 Academic All-America selections were announced in four sports (Men's Soccer - 1; Women's Soccer - 1; Volleyball - 2; Football - 9).
Indiana made history when it claimed an NCAA-record eighth national title, becoming the first No. 16 seed to win the championship. The Hoosiers were one of four Big Ten teams to make the NCAA Championship, joining Michigan, Michigan State and Northwestern. Indiana’s Eriq Zavaleta earned All-America status, while Penn State’s Julian Cardona was named an Academic All-American.
The Penn State women’s soccer team advanced to the NCAA Championship match for the first time in program history. The Nittany Lions were one of five conference teams in the NCAA bracket, joining Michigan, Illinois, Ohio State and Wisconsin. Illinois’ Vanessa DiBernardo was named a finalist for U.S. Soccer’s Young Female Athlete of the Year award, and six women’s soccer players earned All-America status, including first-team honorees Maya Hayes and Christine Nairn of Penn State. Nairn is also a finalist for the MAC Hermann Trophy. Off the field, Minnesota’s Allie Phillips earned Academic All-America recognition.
Penn State and Michigan both reached the national semifinals of the NCAA Volleyball Championship, marking the third time the Big Ten has had multiple teams among the final four and the sixth straight year that at least one squad has played for the right to go to the title match. The Nittany Lions and Wolverines were two of the conference’s seven in the NCAA Championship, joining Michigan State, Minnesota, Nebraska, Ohio State and Purdue. Fourteen Big Ten players earned All-America status, including first-team honorees Katherine Harms of Minnesota, Lauren Cook of Nebraska and Micha Hancock and Ariel Scott of Penn State. Purdue’s Ariel Turner was named volleyball’s Capital One Academic All-American of the Year, joining Nebraska’s Gina Mancuso on the Academic All-America Team. Mancuso was also named winner of the Senior CLASS Award.
Wisconsin men’s cross country recorded a second-place team finish at the NCAA Championships on the strength of three top-12 individual finishes. The Badgers’ Mohammed Ahmed finished eighth, followed by Maverick Darling in 11th and Reed Connor in 12th. Indiana’s Zach Mayhew took 14th, joining the trio of Wisconsin runners on the All-America team. All four of the Big Ten’s competing women’s squads posted top-25 finishes at the NCAA Championships, led by Michigan in fifth. Iowa’s Mareike Schrulle finished seventh to claim All-America status.
Iowa, Michigan and Penn State all made appearances in the NCAA Field Hockey Championship, led by the Nittany Lions, who advanced to the quarterfinals. Big Ten teams produced nine All-Americans, including first-team honorees Chelsea Armstrong of Northwestern and Kelsey Amy of Penn State.
On the football field, Ohio State completed a perfect 12-0 season and seven conference teams earned bowl bids, marking the 14th straight season that six or more Big Ten teams are bowl-bound. Ten Big Ten standouts earned All-America honors, including consensus first-team All-American Montee Ball of Wisconsin. In the classroom, the Big Ten once again led all conferences in Academic All-Americans with nine selections, including first-team honorees Adam Replogle of Indiana, Rex Burkhead of Nebraska, Patrick Ward of Northwestern and Pete Massaro and John Urschel of Penn State.